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Forensic lab turns 10

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Forensic science has been a part of crime fighting here in Cayman dating back to the 1990’s, but it was in 2006 that a full-time DNA unit was established with the help of Dr. David Ferris and the HSA so that samples didn’t have to be sent overseas for analysis.
Cayman 27’s Philipp Richter reports on how scientists and law enforcement are marking a decade of teamwork and looking at the potential to be of service, even beyond our shores.

“Get the badguy off the streets so that they can’t hurt anybody else, it’s very fullfilling for us as scientists to be able to do that,” said Angela Tanzillo-Swarts, Forensic DNA Specialist.

The fight against crime doesn’t always take place in the streets, but also in forensic laboratories.
As evidence is brought to the lab to be tested by law enforcement, the scientists can get a better understanding of the perpatrator than the police had.

“We’re really concerned that there is a threat to public safety and we’ve gotten those results out to them within 24hrs,” said Forensic DNA Specialist, Angela Tanzillo-Swarts.

The labratorty not only deals with the Police department, by testing evidence for samples, or testing suspects for toxins, but does paternity tests as well.  In 2015, the labratory carried out 543 forensic tests.

“We do have crime and  everyone is always worried about it, but it’s not like it is in other places and we’re able to solve a lot of these crimes here by doing the work for the police locally,” said Angela Tanzillo-Swarts.

The forensic lab deals with an average 11 cases month and Mrs. Swarts believes the labratory’s services can be expanded to serve neighbors with police services that are not as well- developed.

“If we could expand to help more of the british overseas terriroties, we could have more people employed at the forensic labratory, more evidence technicians, more scientits to be in the more support roles,” said Angela Tanzillo-Swarts.
For the last seven years, the laboratory has been internationally accredited to match the standards of an FBI run laboratory in the US.

About the author

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter was born in Austria and moved to the Cayman Islands at the age of three. Throughout his life, he has always enjoyed documenting his surroundings with cameras. Studying television broadcasting and communications, he now can show the reality of life in Grand Cayman to the public.

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